I watched my daughter write a paper for school all Sunday afternoon. It’s an interesting process watching Miss E write a paper. I know she writes a lot of it in her head but the actual process of getting those thoughts on paper is an exercise in frustration. It’s a fairly simple assignment, a five paragraph paper where she takes a character from history and brings her into the present. She’s talked me through her concept so I know she has her three main points in mind.
Yet she spent four hours “writing” and has just two paragraphs to show for it. Why? Let me tell you how she writes:
– She gets out her paper and pencil then gets up to get a snack.
– She decides to write outside because she needs a change of scenery.
– She writes on the couch (again needs a change of scenery and this time feels lonely so she wants to be near someone). We catch her staring at the football game repeatedly… she hates watching football.
– She gets completely and utterly hung up on one tiny detail of the paper. Decides she can write no further than the introduction until she learns how to handle this one detail. I assure her that her teacher doesn’t care about that detail and that even if I’m wrong, she can add it later so please just write the three main paragraphs.
– She gets up to ask her sister (who had this teacher/assignment last year) what she thinks about that detail. K says she doesn’t remember. This causes another delay while she exclaims in frustration at the lack of knowledge in this house! (I choose not to remind her that if she had remembered to bring home her Language Arts folder with the assignment details she wouldn’t be relying on family members for such ridiculous advice.)
– She wants to know when digital clocks were invented because she has decided her character will be surprised by them. It is apparently critical that she know the precise date when they were invented… in fact, maybe she should sit down at the computer and figure that out herself. (I look it up and give her the year. 1968 if you’re curious.)
– She sharpens her pencil for the fifth time.
You get the picture. The child has no sense of focus. NONE. Thankfully she is fairly willing to plan ahead (with prodding) and start her work early (unlike a certain procrastinating older sister). So we have five more days to muster through this joyful process.
Just one… I’d like just one kid who approaches their homework with some sense of planning and determination. I approach my whole life with planning & determination. You’d think it would have rubbed off on someone.